Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: I Love Books

I would have bookcases, from the floor to the ceiling, lining the walls of my home and flowing out the door even, if I had my way! I could drag my family to the bookstore where they would have to endure hours upon hours of me carousing the aisles, checking out everything from cookbooks, to romance novels, to text books, to daily devotionals. I love books and here are the Top Ten reasons why:

1. I can momentarily enter a completely different world from my own diapers and disaster world!
2. I learn new words and expand my vocabulary and my mind.
3. I get inspired to write myself!
4. I have something to chat about over coffee or tea with my friends...oh wait, what I meant was, to yell about over screaming children to my oblivious husband when he gets home from work!
5. I learn how people lived in different periods of history, my favorite periods of history are World War 2 and the Renaissance.
6. I can explore any number of worlds without ever leaving my couch, from the make believe that feel so incredibly vivid, to the unbelievable in our own world.
7. I discover different cultures and customs, from the extreme to the mundane.
8. I am encouraged by stories from other woman who have faced the same trials as I have and find such peace in God's promises.
9. I learn of delicious new ways to use an ordinary boxed cake mix and make it something extraordinary.
10. I believe no one can ever learn too much, or exhaust their mind to the point it cannot hold any more information, in fact no matter how much we may know, there is infinite more room to discover new ideas and lessons.

This is linked with Top Ten {Tuesday}

Story Time: And Then There Were Three

It was a chilly wet day in October. I was walking home from the store burdened by my plastic grocery bags. I thought, at least the rain has stopped, as I ventured on my shortcut between two old houses, one looking as if it would fall apart the next time a slight breeze passed this way. Luckily it had been abandoned long ago, so it seemed like it would have little effect if any on the town. Probably wouldn't even rate an article in the Daily Beat, our small town's pathetic excuse for a newspaper.
Endeavoring on before the break in the rain would end, I raced up the next street and planned on crossing Hadley Field, but when I came to it, I decided it would be better to finish the home stretch with buckets of water dumping down on me, then risk the puddle and mud speckled field. I should have known better then to expect the route being clear. After all it had been storming for days. And Hadley Field had on more then one occasion left me needing to be hosed down before I even considered entering the house I called home, with not even a speck of dirt or dust to be found inside.
My husband, Ben, had it in for dirt. Maybe it was because of the uncleanliness of the environment he grew up in. His father moved them around from basement to basement of friend's homes. One time they even lived under a bridge for a month! His hands were stained by the filth in which he lived, and as a child he swore he would provide better for his own family someday. And that he did. Ben often missed dinner due to the late shifts he would work at the factory where he had been employed since he was 17 years old. Over the past 10 years he had worked up to a manager position of sorts, but along with it came the need to work extra hours, likely finishing up his daily tower of paperwork. I didn't mind, while I loved my husband dearly, I enjoyed the quiet time to myself also.
I often would just sit and watch the bulge in my belly wiggle from side to side, occasionally bringing a small cringe to my face when I caught a shot in the ribs, mostly though I would just smile. On the small dark table beside the couch, I stashed my baby name list. I had it narrowed down to my top ten first and middle name combinations for each a boy or a girl. We had decided to let the gender be a surprise, though secretly I felt I would cry if it weren't a girl. Though you would think based on my long list of girl names we were undecided heading into this last month of pregnancy, we actually already had a beautiful and most perfect name picked out should we have the opportunity to use it. I still enjoyed the thrill of experimenting with other names, but the number one spot had always been Lilliana Grace. A name our little princess would one day soon share with her mother as well as her grandmother, that is if God chose to answer my desperate plea for a girl as I wished.

Now it's your turn! Lets try to keep it going through 3 to 4 posts, so don't end it right away! I look forward to seeing how others will build and transform Ben, Lilliana, and their little one into a family! Just be sure to link up with one another, I can't wait to see if this works out!

Continued here.

Story Time Link

I found a very neat tool, that I have yet to see used on another blog. When I signed up for the Linky Tools website, I discovered a whole list of different types of links. On that list was one in particular that brought back memories of my creative writing class I took in the 8th grade. In that class our teacher would occasionally have us do an exercise in writing that I just thought was really neat. We would have a set time to begin writing a story, usually along the lines of 10 minutes. After our initial 10 minutes was up we were to pass our papers forward for the next person to continue with our story! There were some very creative stories going around the room! At the end of class we would each share whatever paper we had ended up with last, usually each contained about 3-4 different authors at the end.
Now on the Linky Tools, one link up option is the Create a Story Link. Someone would start the story and then others link up to finish it! So I thought I would give this a try and see how it goes. To read the beginning of my story, and add a middle or the end, click here.

Teach Me Tuesday: Adding a Link-up Device

In my very first edition of Teach Me Tuesday, I am learning how to set up a linking device so that others may join up their own posts about lessons they are learning!
It is so important to me to always keep my mind active and learning new things, whether it is a class I choose to take or a new word I look up to understand more appropriate ways to use it! And sometimes it may also be a lesson from God, showing me something I need to work on and grow in.
So lets get started...first you need to decide which kind of link you want, I have seen a few different ones, and I will be learning how to use the Linky Tools, or MckLinky, which is a free tool.
Then you must sign-up. As I already said it is a free tool, but on their website using your email and full name you create an account. You also will need the URL for your blog and to know which time zone you are in. Now your account is set up!
On your dashboard there are a number of different link options. I will be using a basic one, that will allow you to link up your blog post to my list that will display at the bottom of my post on my blog. Some other types of link-ups are 'Blog Hops' in which each person that adds to the list has the option of adding the code to their own post as well, and everyone would have the exact same list of links, so you can 'hop' around from blog to blog. There is also a link for contests or giveaways, others can enter as per your own instructions and you may choose a winner or rank them, 1st, 2nd, etc. Another one is the picture caption link, which you can have readers suggest captions for a particular picture and choose your favorite. The list of link options goes on.
To use the basic link, you first select it, then put in info like the title- which won't show on your post but is rather for organizing your links on the dashboard of the Linky website. You put in the number of characters you want the maximum to have available for bloggers to enter when they link up. They suggest keeping it somewhat short, about 30-60, so you will have a 'clean' list of links. And you enter the start and end times for when others are allowed to add a link. This is why it is important to put your time zone in. Now you are almost done!
Now you can get the code, and copy and paste it into your blog! That wasn't very hard right? I will admit, I thought it would be more complicated but as I keep learning more and more about blogging, I find its super easy and user friendly!

What have you learned this week?

Thoughts for New Memes

I have been out exploring lately! There is a huge, beautiful world of blogging mommies out there on the world wide net and I think it is so exciting!
And I absolutely loving all the little 'memes' by other bloggers, one for each day of the week! There are so many out there I don't know if I am an original in this but I want to start two of my own.
'Teach Me Tuesday', when I will share what the Lord has been teaching me that week, or maybe just a new skill I am learning. For example this week I would say I am learning a lot about blogging! I think it is important to always be learning something new, new skills to use for Him, and sometimes new lessons He is trying to teach us in different ways in our lives.
And then I thought it would be fun to do a 'Thankful Thursday'. I think too often we get so caught up in life we forget to appreciate the little, and big, things that God blesses us with. We have one day a year set aside for giving thanks, but really we should be doing this all the time! In prayer I know I have the habit of asking, and asking, and asking, with little thought to thanking for the blessing I do have and the answered prayers He has already given.
Join me if you like for 'Teach Me Tuesday' and 'Thankful Thursday'. I will try to learn how to add a link-up gadget at the bottom of my posts....maybe that will be my first 'Teach Me Tuesday' post!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

No More Chef Boyardee for Me!

No more Chef Boyardee for me! I am disowning this once beloved brand name for once and all. * Important note: If you still ignorantly enjoy Chef Boyardee, and prefer to keep things that way, I recommend you read no further!*
Just a few weeks ago, while munching on one of my childhood favorites- the mini ravioli- I discovered what looked like the leg of some sort of creepy crawly creature tucked away inside the little pocket of pasta. Even though I was only half way through my bowl, that was the end of my meal. I lost all interest in not only the ravioli, but in any food I might have eaten for a little while following. I was one hundred percent grossed out, though I wondered if my imagination had gotten the better of me and saw something that wasn't necessarily what I had deemed it to be.
A few days later, I headed out to the commissary, list in hand. I browsed through the usual aisles, grabbing the foods my family loves as I went. Before I knew it, I was standing in front of a towering shelf packed with a variety of Chef Boyardee canned convenience. I cringed as I thought back to the trauma the last purchase of this product had resulted in. But in the end I decided everyone, and everything, deserved a second chance, so I reluctantly added a few cans to the growing collection in my cart, and continued my shopping.
The days passed, as most in my life do, with me awakening to a crying kiddo, calling out for mommy before the sun has even gotten out of bed. I make a simple breakfast and get on about our morning routine. But on one particular day, before I realized it, I was staring at lunch time feeling as drained as if it were bedtime! I quickly called on the old reliables for my kids, a recent favorite, Eggos with honey and some canned fruit. Now I don't much care for that particular meal so I decided to take the plunge and dive into a bowl of Chef Boyardee ravioli once again. I popped the bowl into the microwave with a sigh escaping my mouth and a grumble rumbling from my stomach.
I cautiously examined my first bite. That's when I saw it. What looked to be another leg of some sort poking its way through the sides of the pasta. I began to investigate further, I pulled apart the top and bottom layers of pasta and I followed the leg as it trailed further into the 'meat' of the ravioli. With my fork, I prodded around inside it until I found what appeared to be a ball like body attached to the stingy leg!! At this point I could go no further. My decision was made and absolutely final: Goodbye Chef Boyardee, I will no longer be able to enjoy the tomato drenched morsels from your quick and easy meals. While others may find spiders, cockroaches, or any other many legged miniature beasts to be beneficial and full of protein, I personally prefer the flavors of steak and chicken to fulfill that particular part of my nutrition.

My First Blogger Award!

Wow! I got my first blog award from another blogging mommy, Ingenue Mom! Thank you Cameron! It is exciting to think that others are enjoying the things I write about, and I am excited to read what other mommy's blog about as well!

To officially accept the award, as I understand, I have to share 7 things about myself you may not know...
1. I complusively buy Disney movies! I just can't get enough! My mom never really bought us movies as a kid, but my grandma would spoil us with the occasional Disney flick. So I decided long ago I would collect as many as possible for my own children to watch! Even ones I am not crazy about!!
2. I love to bake, but not cook! Whipping up a dessert makes me feel warm and cozy inside, but ask me to make you some eggs and I will drag my feet on the long walk to the kitchen!
3. You might have assumed from #2, but I have the biggest sweet tooth ever! Seriously, you may think you have it bad, but when my husband isn't home, I sometimes eat ice cream for lunch (after I have sent my daughter to play in her room so she doesn't get the same idea)!!
4. My husband insists I am the only person on the planet whose toenails curve out instead of inward. It drives him crazy because when my toenails are long and pretty his legs get scratched up in bed!
5. I love baby names. I constantly am searching for my next favorite baby name. We do hope to have one more someday and so far that baby is looking to have about fifty names if I were to use all my favorites!
6. One of my favorite channels is Food Network. Though I always swore I would never get into all those reality shows, I LOVE "Worst Cooks in America" and "The Next Food Network Star".
7. I am crazy about children's parties! I could plan one for my kids every month and be a very happy woman, despite the pressure that sometimes follows them. I love to go all out and see the looks on the kids faces! I only wish my children's 2 birthdays were spread out in the year so I could always be planning and thinking of one, instead of 2 in a row then another 10 months to go before another party!

And now it is my privilege to pass this award along. I guess I am supposed to give it to 5 other bloggers, but I haven't regularly been reading even that many yet because I am so new to the blogging world! So I will just give it to the ones I have been enjoying the most lately... The Adventures of Motherhood, Of Such is the Kingdom, and Living to Tell the Story

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Six Word Saturday


I am participating in 6 word Saturday this week....describe your week in 6 words!
To further explain mine in just a few more then 6 words: I need, and wish we could afford, a second car because driving Jon to work even occassionally leaves me quite exhausted and throws the kids sleep/nap routines off. I don't do it often for this reason, but I did on Friday morning this week because at the time we were under the impression Jon would be working through his duty day Friday on into Saturday afternoon. But fortunately (and a little unfortunately), Jon didn't have to work Saturday so I had to get the kids up early again in order to pick him up after his 24 hours on duty had ended! I was thrilled he was home, but since I never used the car Friday afternoon, I apparently didn't need to take him in at all! Of course only God knew that would happen, so it couldn't be helped. At least we all got naps this afternoon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Blog vs Vlog- My Opinion

Take it for what it is worth but this is my opinion of blogging verses vlogging.

I have never vlogged so I can't speak from personal experience, but I have watched a few. There is nothing wrong that I can find with vlogging, and for some it is easier to talk about it (quicker I should guess and no need for spell check or much worry about written grammar!) then to write memories or opinions out into written words.
Personally though, there is nothing for me that can beat the thrill of expressing myself on paper, or screen in this case. I love spending the time to search for just the right word. Something that will paint vivid pictures in the minds of my readers, but leaving just enough to the imagination to stretch it out and leave the reader wondering just a bit. I feel so much more creative in my writing then my speech, put on the spot to give my thoughts, I often can't keep them all straight. Even in prayer, I prefer in my own quiet time to record my prayers in a journal as it prevents my mind from wandering when it should not be, like a kid in a shopping mall!
Other superficial reason I find blogging far superior (as my choice) to a vlog, is I can do it in my pajamas! Being a stay at home mom, with often no car during the day, I spend a good half of my waking hours in my pajamas, or 'house clothes' as I sometimes call them. Occasionally even the whole day will slip by me before I have found the time to actually throw on a pair of blue jeans to replace my very comfortable though less fashionable Eeyore pajama pants! And not to mention that I seldom take the time to wear the makeup which I most certainly feel inadequate without, despite Jon's constant musings to me of my beauty.
Well that pretty much sums up my stance on the matter. Of course it is a personal preference and everyone I have watched vlog, do it well, and obviously prefer it! To each his (or her!) own! Who knows, maybe one day I will try it and find it isn't as bad as I first thought!
What do you prefer, and why?

How I Found True Love

I grew up searching for love. I wanted to find the perfect man to share my life with and church seemed a good place to start. As a child I would go to church as often as I could. I went to Catholic church with my 'step' grandfather occasionally when I was really young and then as a preteen I began going to a baptist church with my sister's friend for AWANA. At first just my little sister had been invited to go along with her new best friend, and same name pal, Nicole, but after a week or 2, the rest of us were allowed to tag along also. That eventually evolved into not only Wednesday nights, but Sunday morning services as well. My first experience in Sunday school was not a super positive one, but I was just a very sensitive soul, and the teacher had unintentionally hurt my feelings. Still I felt drawn to church and I loved being surrounded by a group of people who just seemed to care.

Love was in the air at church and somewhere along the line that's where I met 'Him'. The man I had been longing for. He was kind and caring. I knew He would always take care of me. I loved Him.

Over the next few months, I jumped at any opportunity possible to go to church, where I could be closest to Him. The atmosphere there was like none I had ever experienced before, I was accepted in this world. When at my very public school, I was often the outcast and never quite popular enough to feel comfortable. But when we began going to church I never looked back. I didn't want that part anymore, I was content to who I had become at school, because I knew I would always have Him and I would always have church. Though I had never said a specific prayer, I knew Him in my heart. I was baptized along with my mom, at the age of 12. I knew Jesus' love, and I knew He had died for me, and I wanted nothing more than to give Him my life.

In my teen years, the monumental moment when I got my license came and I could not have been more thrilled to have a car. I actually had a job a couple of months prior, so I needed that car to drive to work, and more importantly to drive myself to church. My mom, being a manager in the retail business, was not able to have as many weekends off anymore as she had when my sisters and I were younger. I on the other hand, refused to work Sundays, at least any hours that conflicted with church. Occasionally I would do a short shift, I would rush off after the morning service and then rush back just a few minutes late for youth group. I was used to the rushing anyway, most of my shifts were immediately after school, a 20-30 minute drive away! I rushed EVERYWHERE those 3 years in high school!

Nothing could keep me from my church and from my Jesus. My heart ached, and still does today, seeing those around me, stumbling awkwardly in the dark. I even wrote a poem about it in high school. I would spend nights crying myself to sleep because I loved my friends, but some just would not hear the truth. Their ears and their hearts were closed to my words, to His words. I remember one girl though. She was new to our church, and a year older then I was. I had never had someone ask me so many questions about salvation! I said the prayer with her that I had heard recited so often in church, and since I didn't have all the answers for her questions myself, I was able to direct her to someone who would. I just remember feeling such excitement at her curiosity and then overwhelming joy when she did accept Jesus. She had met the perfect man that would love her unconditionally, just as I had years before. It was an indescribable feeling to be able to be a part of introducing her to Jesus.

But my heart still aches, because even within my own family, I know there are some still searching for perfect love now. Some think they find it in another person, others maybe in a bottle, or in sports or maybe work. Truly though the only place you can find such perfect love is in the Bible and in the hearts of His believers today. And the best part is, it is a completely free and wonderful gift. It can heal all the hurts in your past and bring new, true joy for the future. And it is unconditional, no matter what deep dark secrets you may cling onto, He knows them, and He wants you to let them go and be washed by His grace. And when you do, you have the assurance of an everlasting life with Him in heaven.

Do you know this perfect love yet? Will you go to heaven when you die? It's not about doing or being what the world calls 'good', its about knowing and accepting Christ's free gift of salvation. And if you want to know Him all you have to do is pray for Him to come into your heart and be a part of your life. There are no special secret words, because this must be a sincere prayer from your heart. Just close your eyes, bow you head and call out to Jesus, ask for forgiveness from your sinners and welcome Him into your heart and life to be Lord. You must turn away from things of the world, and rest on Him alone.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." ~John 3:16

"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." ~ Acts 4:12

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. ~2 Corinthians 5:17

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace... ~Ephesians 1:7

If you said that prayer please feel free to contact me! I would love to rejoice with you in your new life and new hope in Jesus!! The next step would be to get a bible, so you can learn God's word and grow closer to Him, as well as to find a church with other believers so that they may encourage you and pray for you!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cartoons of my Childhood

Do you miss the cartoons from your childhood? Though many are now available on DVD, I wish more were, even the one hit wonders that still remain a part of my memory. I don't care for the new remakes very much, not after growing up with the original, there is just no comparison for me. I miss the days when I would get to watch a cartoon as I ate breakfast, and another when I came home from school and snacked on a pack of Care Bear themed fruit snacks. Those were my good old days, when who I was going to play with at recess or which show I would watch when my cartoons had conflicting times, were my biggest concerns!
I wish I could share them all with my own daughter now, and luckily some I can.
Here are some I wish I saw more of, the originals, not the computer generated generation...
1. Lady Lovely Locks- the girl with long beautiful hair and little pixie tails that lived inside her lovely locks!
2. Rose Petal Place- flowers come to life to care for other flowers, what a perfect girly theme!
3. My Little Pony- the originals in the prehistoric 2D that today is widely avoided.
4. Rainbow Brite- and all her colorful friends!
5. JEM- a rock star cartoon in her time! Definitively 80s!
6. The Gummi Bears- secret bears that can talk and when they drink a certain juice...BOUNCE!
7. Care Bears- again, the originals were the best before computer animation entered the scene and in my opinion as did the superficial story lines, what happened to the Care Bears who would just help kids when they were feeling sad or scared?
8. Scooby Doo- Who doesn't love a good mystery?!
9. The Smurfs- Little blue people with their own set of problems, besides being blue.
10. David the Gnome- A little dunce-capped doctor who goes around to help sick animals, who wouldn't love the 'Diagnosis Murder' for the preschool years?!
11. Strawberry Shortcake- Although I find the updates to this one more acceptable and traditional (at least the first & second round of the new looks), it just can't get any better then the original!

What was your favorite cartoon when you were a kid?

Gaining a Sister, Losing a Friend

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. ~Job 1:21b

In the year I turned 6, my life, as well as the lives of those in my family, was on quite a roller coaster ride. Ups and downs, twist and turns, it seemed endless.
At the beginning of the year I was blessed to become a big sister for the second time. My mom brought home the newest addition to our family, my sister Nicole, in February. I got to hold a new baby for the first time. It was exciting because though I had one other little sister, Carolyn had been born when I was still a toddling 16 month old, so as far as my memory stretched she had always been there, we were a pair- though the kind of pair was more like that of cats & dogs then loving sisters, but a pair none the less.
A few months later, the joy of having a new baby sister faded as within weeks of each other, I lost two very close family members. Honestly, it all blurred together and I don't remember which happened first. One was expected, the other quite sudden. My grandfather, at the end of his full and long life, slowly fading into memory, and my dear cousin, my best friend, only 19 days younger then I was, just barely beginning his life.
I remember my grandfather lying in the hospital bed we had set up in our dining room. I don't know if he was awake and could hear me, but I knew he was sick and dying. I would sit beside him and use the skills I was just learning in school to read him stories. I didn't fully understand what was happening, but I was very sad and I knew things wouldn't be the same as they were once. Finally one day I came home and he was just gone. The bed had been picked up and there was an empty space in the corner of our dining room, and in my heart. It was expected, but it was still sad to think I would never see him again, that his life on earth was now over. Of course life moved on despite his absence and I continued to find things to smile about.
Those smiles didn't last long though. I remember the phone call, the looks from my mom and grandmother as we got the tragic news. Both my Aunts, Lori and Lori, and my Uncle Mike had been planning some sort of road trip or vacation. We were never close with my Uncle Mike and his family, so we were not included in their outings. Apparently, the car they were loading up was parked across the street from their house. Some of the kids, my cousins, were in the car waiting as the adults hustled back and forth. My older cousin JJ was supposed to stay with Tony, but left to use the bathroom. Tony, my cousin and closest friend at that age, whom I frequently spent hours playing and pretending to get married to, was left in the car alone. I suppose being the typical 5 year old, he decided he didn't want to be left alone, and he stepped out into the street. The speculation I have heard over the time since the accident, is that he must have thought the car coming was slowing down for him. In fact, she was slowing as she talked with the others in her car and was looking at some of the homes they passed beside. She didn't even look ahead immediately as she began accelerating and changed the lives of many in mere seconds.
I never got to say goodbye. We got the call from my Aunt Lori at the hospital, he didn't make it. I remember selfishly asking the question, 'Did he say anything to me?'. I didn't know any better, I just wanted some form of farewell, even if I wasn't there to receive it myself. After learning he was unconscious until the end and wasn't able to give anyone any words, I collapsed into the nearest arms I could find. I don't know if it was my mom or my grandma, it didn't matter as I felt my world crumbling around me. She held me as I cried until the tears would come no more, curled up on our gray sectional sofa.
Eventually the world I once thought could be no more, rebuilt itself, just a little more frayed at the edges from the recent sorrows. Time moved forward, we moved into my grandma's house over that summer and I began 1st grade in the school I would call 'home' for the next 4 years, I made new friends, met wonderful teachers and had many new adventures. My grandfather and Tony were never far from my memory, but I still had my new baby sister, Nicole, to brighten my days. And someday I hope to see them both in heaven again.

This is the 3rd in a 15 week series I am doing to record my youth with other woman. Check it out at

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Opera in the Clouds

Ah, the familiar sound of rain spilling from the sky! It has been a dry year so far, but I am excited to have those gray clouds coming back to visit again. I like to crank up the AC, snuggle up in sweats- the only pair I have- and sip from a steaming cup of chamomile tea sweetened with honey. I pop in a movie, something that brings back memories of home. Maybe even a Christmas movie, letting the warm fuzzy feeling of the season wash over me. Or something from my childhood, like Beauty and the Beast, the first movie I saw in theaters as a child.

Oh and the sound of rolling thunder. Not a memory from my home, we didn't get those very often, but from the first years of marriage with my dear husband. Thinking back to our first little apartment together, staring out the window into the dark, wet night, listening to the clouds roll in. Lightening spiking the sky with brightness for moments at a time. Curling up in bed with Jon under thick warm blankets and just listening to the storm as if it were an opera playing out somewhere high above us. Blocked by the clouds, we can only hear the remnants of the music as if we are behind the curtains, backstage.
I know right now, somewhere, someone is wishing this storm would pass. As for me, I will enjoy it as it grumbles on like a grumpy old man, and I will pray so that maybe our visitor will stay just a little while longer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Don't Forget Grace!

I was visiting with a friend once when she told me about a book she was going through with a study group. I don't remember the name of it, but the concept, which she briefly described to me, has stuck in my head for quite some time. I have yet to practice it, but I feel like the time is approaching quickly that I should.
Natalie learns by example better then any other method, and I am sure that is true of most children her age. I even witness Zachary continually mimic our actions and words, some for the better, some not so much- like when I spank Natalie and he scoots over to 'help'. And the only way I finally was able to convince Natalie to eat a sandwich whole, verses deconstructing it before she demolished it, was to sit down with her at lunch time and eat my own similar sandwich, whole. There is just something about watching someone else do it first that I believe encourages children and in some cases makes them more eager to try it themselves. Maybe (on occasion) we should use the time when they are misbehaving to demonstrate a very important gift from God, by letting them live it through an example.
As parents, we give our children love, just as Jesus loved us. We offer them forgiveness, because Jesus forgave us. But maybe sometimes we need to try and show our children grace, just as God has shown it to us. I am not suggesting no discipline. God commands us to discipline our children to teach them right from wrong. But when they have that repentant heart attitude, and they can admit they did wrong, just as we must come before God to confess our sins before He pours out His grace over us; then we too might show grace to our children and not punish them for their wrong deed. Explain to them, that grace is the only thing standing between them and a punishment at that particular moment. Tell them, it is nothing that can be earned, it is simply given. Talk to them and use the opportunity to display how God gives us His grace, and that only God's grace is what saves us from an eternity apart from Him.
Discipline will always be a very important part of our job as parents, but offering grace occasionally to teach children more about God and His gift, should be too. After all, where would we be apart from God's amazing and saving grace?

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~Hebrews 4:16

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~Ephesians 2:8-9

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ants in My Pants!

Ants in my pants, and crawling up my arms. They line up around my kitchen sink and parade across my dining room table in search of crumbs- they must know I have young kids! I find them in books and by the toilet seat. I even found them lazying about in a sauna once, only for me, that sauna was my chamomile tea! No peace from these little pests, not anywhere!! No matter how hard I clean, they come in their armies, marching in despite the causalities they continue to face. I must confess and ask for your forgiveness, because when I think about these tiny nuisances, a smile works its way across my face at the thought of squishing or stepping on them. I admit it, I enjoy ending their miniature lives almost as much as they seem to like driving me 'ant-y'!

Spiders and Snakes and Guam, Oh My!

Before Jon and I arrived on this little island we now call home, I was terrified of Guam. When I first learned of the possibility of ending up stranded out here, it was around April 2004. Jon and I had been married a few months and the boat he was attached to at that time was planning on making its move here that December. Of course God calmed my fears by giving us the opportunity to stay in the states for a little while longer, though still on the opposite coast which I knew and loved. Apparently though, that was just the time He felt I needed to mature enough to deal with a move overseas because sure enough when Jon attempted to get orders to where we met and now call home, we were informed our best chance of getting back would be to go overseas first. Guam was were his recruiter had in mind.
Again the visions of tiki huts, beds draped in netting to keep the giant mosquitoes and poisonous snakes out, and spiders the size of small cars filled my dreams. I even began to develop a mild claustrophobia at just the thought of being on this speck of land in the middle of a huge ocean, miles from the civilization I had grown quite fond of. I never thought we would find a good church, there couldn't possibly be very many, let alone a Baptist church, on such a small island. And where was I supposed to shop??!! I imagined buying coconut bras and wearing sarongs and mu-mus everywhere. The thought of moving to Guam left me with these vivid nightmares and more!
Quickly the end of July 2008 was at our doorstep, and we were on an airplane. Approximately 24 hours on 3 different planes, plus an 8 hour layover in Japan later and we arrived on Guam at 2 am to NO sponsor waiting to pick us up. Finally we managed to reach the duty driver from Jon's future boat, and he came to get us. He drove us to the Navy lodge where we had made reservations before our little adventure all began, but we arrived at the hotel to find they had booked him as a single sailor in a barracks style room, otherwise they were packed full, of course! Well we made due with that little room with the full size bed for Jon and I. Lucky for us we had brought along in our luggage Natalie's toddler sized aerobed. Only a week and half later our car arrived and we found a place to call home. Our furniture came about 2 weeks after that. As you can tell, my initial feelings for the island, though not the nightmare I had worked myself into believing, were still not that great! I was ready to leave before the 1st month was over!
Fast forward almost 2 years later and Jon just put in his paperwork to extend! Though there are still many issues I have with Guam, mostly the awful roads and lack of shopping malls, as well as sometimes unbearable heat and humidity, I have also found happiness here. I enjoy our church as much as I could any other in the states. We have been blessed with the most wonderful friends I could ever imagine. And we live in a comfortable, spacious apartment, minus the netting and to my surprise minus the giant bugs- mostly. One part of my nightmares was true, bugs are bigger here!! The fact that we have had very few get into our apartment makes that more then bearable!
In fact, I have written all this, just so I can share with you, that we found our first spider (other then the tiny flimsy nothing ones) tonight!! Now for at least a week I will be scanning the ceilings- where this one was- and walls at 5 minute intervals for any sign of 8 scurrying long legs, but at the same moment I sit back and think, "Man, that's pretty good!". I know back home in the states there is no way I would've gone almost 2 years without spotting some big brown creepy spider running for cover across my living room floor! Guam isn't so bad after all!! Though truth be told, as long as my big strong bug killing husband is around, I don't mind the little chill of terror that rushes through me as I leap onto the nearest chair when I spot something creepy crawly! I know he will always rush in to gallantly slay the beast and save his damsel in distress!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Mommy in the Making

Since adding a new baby to our family 15 months ago, I am discovering that I am raising a mommy in the making! I, myself, had 3 younger sisters and lived most of my life with my mother and grandmother. Talk about a house full of estrogen!! Due to this environment I have very little experience with young boys. So I have no idea how my son will react to having a new baby again, as I hope to in a few more years, but I truly enjoy watching Natalie's natural nuturing nature present itself more and more.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. For Natalie's 2nd Christmas, Santa brought her the mother load of doll clothes, accessories and even a new doll to add to her growing collection. And over the years I have continued to contribute to it myself regularly. Can a little girl ever really have too many dollies? It is nearly impossible for me to resist buying Natalie the new Mommy & Me dolls, each in a different adorable outfit- a doll ready for the rain, or one on her way to the beach, then yet another preparing to be tucked into bed. I think there must be a special gene God has embedded in the hearts of little and big girls. Most of us long for the joys of motherhood from the time we can walk, all the way to the real deal as our first child is born! Over time, I have had the privilege to witness Natalie care for her naked baby dolls, as well as her perfectly dressed stuffed animals. She carefully tucks them into bed in the doll cradle. Or when they 'cry'- and one actually does much to my regret- she rushes to soothe them, offering a bottle or pacifier, and if that doesn't work she just whips up some of her delicious potato, shoe and sock stew. Natalie enjoys pretending to be a mommy.
Since Zachary has come into our lives I have watched as Natalie now mothers not only her dolls, but also her baby brother. She rushes to get me a diaper from his room when I run out in the living room. She brings him toys. In fact one of the very first days after he arrived in his new home, while I sat changing his diaper on the floor, Natalie brought an offering of small toys and placed them in a pile beside Zachary. She rejoices in his triumphs right beside me. And she helps him up when he falls. She is quick to let me know if he is doing something dangerous- as well as other things not so dangerous. And just minutes ago, as Natalie helped me out by giving Zachary his bowl of scrambled eggs for dinner, I watched her carefully blow onto the eggs, then feel with her fingers to check that they would not be scorching Zachary's tongue tonight, then again blow more on them to ensure cool eggs, before finally placing the bowl onto his high chair. And that's when it really hit me...Natalie truly is a mommy in the making!

Reaping Rewards from Parenting

Smiles radiating from joyful children as you enter the room after a long day at work, or even just a quick trip to check the mail.

Laughs and giggles bursting out of little mouths before your fingers have even found their tickle spots.

A random kiss and a sweet hug from a loving child as you stand in the kitchen washing the dishes.

Encouraging words from the little voice of your hopeful child pushing you forward in your endeavor.

Standing back to witness and watch as your children play and entertain each other, with joy and happiness lighting up their faces toward the other, despite any gaps in their ages.

An innocent request for you to close your eyes tight, as an eager child waits to unveil her newest masterpiece.

Helping hands enthusiastically handing you the new baby's burp cloth before the spew is spilled onto the floor.

Hurried feet rushing toward you, with tears streaming from big sad eyes, looking for that perfect fit of only your caring arms to comfort them in their times of pain and grief.

Eyes wide with curiosity as your child wonders for the 27th time why the sun is yellow, how the flowers grow or where it is that God lives.

Being reminded by a concerned child, as you lift your fork from the table, that your food remains unblessed by its Provider.

Cuddling up under the warm comforter as bedtime draws near, and listening to the sweet and simple prayer of your little one as she thanks the Lord for her family.

These are just a few of the rewards that parents may reap from their wonderful, smart, silly, and sweet children.

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How Is YOUR Posture?

I have always had a problem with my posture. I much prefer to slouch then put the effort in to stand up straight and tall. Even my husband now, concerned about the future back problems I have yet to develop from this bad habit, gets on my case about it. I know to the world good posture can make you more attractive sometimes, shows confidence, and maybe even in some a little cockiness as well.
How would you describe your posture? Are you proud to say you have good posture; Tall and straight, head up, just as your parents always hassled you about at the dinner table?
What about your spiritual posture? Do you think God wants you to be standing up nice and tall, proud even, or maybe He is asking that instead you bow your heart and bend your knees.

Come let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our God our Maker. Psalm 95:6

Bowing down and kneeling before God is an act of great humility. And that is exactly what God wants from us. A humble and open heart. Being humble is putting God before your own needs, obeying Him and doing His will above anything else. And the best part is, when we are humble enough to put God first, He will provide our every need. He will exalt us.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time. 1 Peter 5:6

But God doesn't just want us to humble ourselves to Him.
As a teenager, I used to love all the different acronyms people would come up with- PUSH- Pray Until Something Happens, WWJD- What Would Jesus Do, FROG- Fully Rely On God, BIBLE- Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, and one I recently heard, GRACE-God's Riches At Christ's Expense. But I think the one that has stuck with me most, that I can remember from when I first started regularly attending church at age 12, is JOY- Jesus, Others, Yourself. God not only wants us to humble ourselves before Him, but also before others. We need to be willing to serve others, just as Christ came to serve us the greatest love the world has ever know. He is our example of service to others and putting others before ourselves. Jesus had the ultimate humility when He died for us on the cross. And even in His earthly life, He left us with examples of His humility, so that we may follow Him.

...and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another for God is opposed to the proud, but give grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5b

"If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you." John 13:14-15

How is your posture? Is God poking you, as your parents once did, but instead, He is asking why you do not humble yourself and bow before Him? Or maybe you need to kneel to wash the feet of another?
Remember to have true JOY, you must put Jesus first, others second and yourself last.

"I want to be a grown up!"

Do you ever find yourself getting nostalgic for those old childhood days? When the magic was alive and bright before your eyes. Everything was new and exciting and full of wonder. Of course we can never have those days back, as hard as we may wish. I remember being so anxious to grow up, to make my own decisions and do whatever I wanted. Of course, now I try to convince my own daughter to enjoy her childhood as I hear those fateful words come out of her own mouth, "I want to be a grown up!". As hard as I try to convince her, there is no swaying her wish. Someday she will be a grown up, and no doubt regretting those words as her own children utter them and the cycle continues.
I hope one day she will sit down and listen to me before its too late. Before her eyes begin to age and the magic and mystery of the world dims into reality. Before those fairy tale dreams, of princes and castles, of fairies and magic wands, fade away into homework and body image, popularity and boys. Maybe I could convince her to cling onto her dreams, and the magic. And then one day I can share with her about a new kind of magic, love and grace.
Her eyes will again be wide with wonder as she sees the world as God created it. She will know the magic of real love, the love that only Jesus Christ could give her. She would feel her burdens lifted as God's amazing grace washes down upon her. Even the rainbow she once dreamed of going over would have new meaning and magic as a promise from God.
This is what I dream of. My children embracing the magic of childhood, when hope is all they have, and as their eyes grow dim to that magic, that the wonder of God will light them again, when grace is all they need.

My Big Blue House

I don't remember much about preschool or kindergarten, but I do remember our big blue house. It was a magical house, especially to a 5 year old.

I was dropped off after school each day and I would go exploring one thing or another in my big blue house. I remember it had a sandbox of sorts but I can't figure out why I needed to be lifted up to get inside it as it was on legs like the kitchen table. I remember asking my grandma, who lived with us, to pick me up so I could get inside it and play for hours at a time.

Honestly, while I remember my grandma living here with us, I have few memories of my sister Carolyn or even my mom and stepfather being there at all. I see visions of hours spent together with my wonderful grandma who loved to spoil me rotten. I was her very first grandchild, and I proudly hold that title even after she passed away.

We would do crafts on this table that was in an interim room between the kitchen and the door to go outside. I thought it was so neat that this table or countertop was built right into the wall, and it even had some drawers underneath to keep craft supplies and little trinkets in. I guess reflecting on that I would now in my adult 'wonderlessness', call that a desk. But through my young eyes, it was just the neatest space, though not my favorite spot in the big blue house.

Where I would spend most of my time was in a magical realm, a place only children could get to, where everything was just my size. In fact in my very own room, there was a tiny doorway, about half the size of the normal door. Even I had to duck my head a bit as I entered. Inside was a room with a little table and chairs and a small couch that folded out for me to sleep on during those special nights I was allowed. I remember the couch had peach colored flowers popping up all over it among the white tangled leaves and vines that rested on the pale blue fabric. Then it was new, but it pops up again, over and over in my memories from childhood, each time just a little dirtier, a little more faded.

I wish I knew where the big blue house was. Though I don't think I would want to visit it again, for in my memories, through my young eyes, it was such a magical house, and a magical time with my grandma taking care of me. But as an adult, now, seeing it again would somehow dim the magic. Someday though, I hope my own daughter can find her own magic hidden among our home, maybe she too will have a room one day that has its own little doorway to a magical place, just like mine once did.

This is the 2nd in a 15 week series I am doing to record my youth with other woman. Check it out at

Thursday, June 10, 2010

As the Sun Sets

Have you ever looked out over a beautiful sunset, or sunrise, and wondered how anyone could possibly believe it was just an accident? I find it much more believeable that there is a wonderful and mighty God, who finds it relaxing to begin and end His days by painting a beautiful scene across the sky for all of us to witness and enjoy!

As the Sun Sets

I have come to the edge.
Glancing over the weathered earth,
The grass covered turf reaches down,
As if each blade of green wants to see just a little further,
Trying to get just a closer look.
The ocean battered rocks that emerge from the
Dark churning water below,
Play a soothing melody
Composed by the waves as they flow in and out.
I let my legs dangle over
And dance in midair,
Carefree, not burdened by
My weight for the moment.
A cool breeze sweeps my hair across my eyes,
I quickly tuck it back behind my ear
I want to watch, and not miss an instant.
I stare out across the sea,
I too wish I could get just a little bit closer.
I watch as a giant blazing ball of light
Sinks into the far off depths of the ocean.
Brilliant pink hues fade into melancholy purples
Quickly losing the race as night edges in.
The light of day is swallowed up by the mighty deep
As the all encompassing wave of darkness
Creeps up from all sides
And forces it under, out like a flame in water.
Each sunset, so uniquely, perfectly, unchanged by time.
I linger on the edge,
Marveling at this miracle.
How beautiful to witness God’s painting every twilight,
To watch an original masterpiece being created each night.
Every brushstroke different from the last,
Each color something new painted across the sky,
By the master of all creations.
I marvel and I believe.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I have never posted my poetry before, but I have been writing since I was about 12 yrs old, though not often in the past few years. I don't always like the way they come out, but this is one I wrote late fall when I was feeling quite homesick and tired of the tropical weather here on Guam. I thought I had lost this when Jon cleared the computer without having it saved somewhere else, but I found it yesterday in an old email I had sent to someone! Let me know what you think, I enjoy getting the occassional comment! Thank you!


The frosty wind breathes crisp golden leaves
From the heaven stretched arms of Old Man Maple.
They flutter as butterflies into a blanket
To warm the earth as autumn falls over the countryside.
A blazing fire over the land in crimson, orange, and honey.

I walk swiftly with a chill biting at my nose
Click, clack, as my heels splash
Upon the concrete Sidewalk River.
Crunch, as my footsteps lead me over
The lone leaf dusting across the path.

Overhead a sea of charcoal clouds
Form an oil painting on an ivory canvas
As tears begin to fall from Sister Sky
Down to the world below,
Showering us in all of Washington’s glory.

All creatures scurry for shelter,
As the sky is ignited for a moment
And a roar is sounded from above.

I walk as booming thunder claps around me,
Icy rain soaks into my fleece jacket,
And brilliant lightening blazes my trail
For only moments at a time;

Yet I am flooded with warmth.
Encompassed in the familiar world
My heart has long yearned for.

Feeling bitterly cold,
Surrounded by autumn’s vivid blush,
Bombarded by flashes of lightening
And ear splitting thunder,
I am enveloped in memories of home.

The sweet scent of gingerbread and cinnamon
Tickles my nose as images of pumpkins and hayrides
Play like an old movie through my mind.
Laughter and singing ring in my ears
As I reminiscence, and my mouth begins to water
Over the traditional pumpkin pie.

Now I eagerly let Madam Gale push me along,
Forcing me to the place
I have long found my comfort in,
She ushers me inside like a long lost friend
Before rushing off to tend to other homecomings.
Autumn has brought me home.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Exercise in Writing

I want to write. More then anything I wish each time I sat down at the keyboard that God would bless me with an endless flow of words. I want to paint pictures with my words, I want to inspire with my words, I want to create with my words. Just as God created man, I wish I could create my own masterpiece, to make others contemplate, wonder, explore their own hearts and minds. But it doesn't come as simply for me. My words come when they come, I cannot force them out. I may have the idea, the thought about which I want to write and share with everyone, but it simply isn't as easy to put it into words. But the feeling, once I do get the divine inspiration from heaven, is so overwhelming, sometimes I can't even sleep at night as the pen and paper, or the keyboard, just calls out my name. I have to get it out of my head before it fades away, and I am again left sitting at the computer with a blank screen and my fingers glued to the same keys just waiting for the moment to begin, flying across the keys when the words do, hopefully, eventually, come out.
Click, clack, click, it begins as an electric spark flowing from my brain, down my neck, into my arms, through my hands and finally escaping with the click, clack, click out my fingertips as I type. Oh the music to my hears to here the keyboard buzzing! I have often wished I could play the piano, make wonderful music to share with all those who could hear, but I find myself now just content and happy when I am able to play on the keyboard of my computer, its almost like music and the words are my notes. But all music, even good music, must have an ending. And too soon, I am speechless again, the keyboard is silent, my thoughts have returned to those of the dull, day to day chores variety. But at least, no matter how occasionally, I am able to write again.

This is one of my exercises in writing, I just sit down an write whatever comes to mind, usually not quite this fluid but I liked this one! Its just something to do when I want to write but don't feel like I can, or don't know what to write about! I actually think its fun and I totally recommend it to anyone even if you do it just when you get bored!

The Short Story of My Name as I Know It

Growing up I remember thinking my name was so masculine. It was absolutely clear to me at the time, that it was a name that a boy should be labeled with. I genuinely couldn't stand it. Of course now I realize what I didn't like was the nickname 'Chris' that seemed to naturally come to mind for anyone trying to tease me somehow, because I have yet to meet a boy named Crystal.
I once asked my mom why she named me that, but all I got was what I thought was a cop-out: "I just liked the name Crystal!" Really?? You liked a name that's meaning is a clear rock? Not even a diamond or precious gemstone, just a clear rock?? I remember as a kid saying at one point that I was named after a famous movie star, to make my friends all jealous. I wanted some claim that my name was more important, more special.
Eventually I realized though that Lynn, my middle name was truly a treasure. I share my middle name with my grandma, my mom, and now my own daughter. And though it is a common name, I knew more girls with the middle name Lynn then I can remember, it was special to me just because of who I share it with.
And as for Crystal, I can't say I am thrilled with it anymore then I was as a child. But I definitely don't hate it, I no longer view it as masculine and I can't say it sounds bad, especially coming from the mouth of the man I love, who funny enough can't stand his own name (which of course means I love it).
I just hope someday my own children will treasure the names I have picked out so thoughtfully and lovingly for them, as I now realize my mom did the same way for me when I was still a baby kicking her from inside her belly.

This is the 1st in a 15 week series I am doing to record my youth with other woman. Check it out at